The group had its origins when sisters June and Bonnie Pointer began performing in clubs in 1969 as "Pointers, a Pair". The line-up grew to a trio when sister Anita Pointer joined them. They got a record deal with Atlantic Records and released several unsuccessful singles. The trio grew to a quartet when sister Ruth joined in December 1972. They then signed with Blue Thumb Records, recorded their debut album, and began seeing more success, winning a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best Country Vocal Performance for "Fairytale" (1974). Bonnie left the group in 1978 to commence a solo career with only modest success.
The group achieved its greatest commercial success as a trio during the 1980s consisting of the line-up of June, Ruth, and Anita, winning two more Grammys for the top 10 hits "Jump (for My Love)" (1984) and "Automatic" (1984). The group's other U.S. top 10 hits are "Fire" (written by Bruce Springsteen) (1979), "He's So Shy" (1980), "Slow Hand" (1981), the remixed version of "I'm So Excited" (1984) and "Neutron Dance" (1985). June Pointer, the youngest sister, struggled with drug addiction for much of her career, leaving the group in April 2004 and dying from extensive cancer in April 2006, at the age of 52. She was replaced by Ruth's daughter Issa Pointer. This trio had a number two hit in Belgium in 2005, covering "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" with Belgian singer Natalia. Since 2009, the group has consisted of Anita, Ruth, Issa, and Ruth's granddaughter Sadako Pointer. While all four women remain in the group, they most often perform as a trio, rotating the lineup as needed.
In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked them as the 80th most successful dance artists of all-time. In December 2017, Billboard magazine ranked them as the 93rd most successful Hot 100 Artist of all-time and as the 32nd most successful Hot 100 Women Artist of all-time....(Read more)
Links to Peel
The group released several eclectic albums in the early to mid 70s, one of which, Steppin, obviously caught Peel's attention: he played at least three tracks from it (one of these, Sleeping Alone, was a Stevie Wonder cover version). There is a fair amount of energetic jazz/funk crossover throughout (plus Herbie Hancock amongst the musicians), and since 1975 was an era when John was flirting with this type of material, it was no surprise to find their expertise and rich harmonies played on his show. The hi-energy offerings they had such great success with in the 80s did not, however, interest him, as his wry comment from Top Of The Pops (see below) testifies.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 09 June 1975: 'Sleeping Alone (LP–Steppin')' (ABC)
- 19 June 1975: 'Going Down Slowly (LP-Steppin')' (ABC)
- D028: 'How Long (Betcha' Got A Chick On The Side) (7")' (ABC)
- Karl's Tape March 1985: 'Fire (7")' (Planet)
Top Of The Pops
- 10 May 1984 (TOTP): 'Automatic'
- 22 November 1984 (TOTP): "And at No.11, the Pointer Sisters – “I’m So Excited”. No, really!"